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Taryn and Mugga's Excellent Adventure to London and Paris...Day 1

Taryn and Mugga colouring in Montana's...too fun!

This is WHY Taryn and Mugga were colouring in Montana's!

An uneventful trip so far…leaving Edmonton after a long and hassle-filled week at work. As my friend, Brian says, “ Wanna get busy at work? Plan a vacation!”
After a quiet couple of weeks in my office, all hell breaks loose on the Monday to Thursday before my granddarling and I leave on this excellent adventure! Condo purchase contracts need writing up, a farm needs the offer completed, another house has to be listed…all in a day and a half, and this half-day is part of my planned day off to get packed! Yikes, it is a crazy, crazy time. But we make it to the Edmonton International airport, in loads of time, believe it or not!

Our hotel in Toronto is one that I found while shopping online for a 'good airport hotel' if there is such a thing. Finally, I had decided on the Sandman Signature, overlooking the golf course.
It is an amazing place…new and sharp, clean and contemporary, daring décor, for an airport hotel. Maybe someone finally understands that staying at an airport hotel does not need to be tantamount to solitary confinement. This place has a gorgeous lobby, beautiful rooms, exceptionally helpful staff and Moxie’s attached to the hotel…what more could we want?

The rooms are simply beautiful…luscious large bathroom with a dark wood vanity, heaps of THICK towels, Aveda-like toiletries, a flatscreen TV, deliciously comfortable beds and linens…2 queen beds in our room, with not much space for anything else, but all we want the space for is to sleep.

And, sleep we do! After arriving at Pearson at 11:30 P.M., then sitting in the plane on the tarmac for about 30 minutes, making us very hot, sweaty and cranky, we finally arrive at the hotel about 12:45 A.M. Dumping our luggage in our rooms, we go straight to the restaurant, hoping for something delicious.
We are not disappointed!

My Crab Cakes on Aioli Sauce and Sweet Potato Fries are perfect!
Maybe it has something to do with being food-deprived for several hours…I’m not sure…but this is the best meal I’ve had in a café or restaurant in ages!
Taryn’s Med Bread with Three Dips is also fantastic. We chug-a-lug a few glasses of ice water with lemon, slaking our thirst and dehydration.

Heading upstairs to our room, we are ready for bed in no time. A bed has never felt so good! I tell Taryn that I’ll likely sleep until 8:00 A.M. or so, and then I’ll get up and slip out quietly for breakfast, leaving her sleeping. The next morning, when I wake up and look at the clock, I am stunned to see that it is 11:30 A.M.! Were we tired? No kidding!

After a yummy breakfast of Eggs Benedict on Italian Pancetta Bacon with Multigrain Toast, a huge pot of My T Leaf green tea and a long chat with Rachel, our sociable server, we phone for a taxi to take us to Woodbine Shopping Center for a couple of hours of browsing, journal shopping for Taryn and Clinique-buying for me.
Another cab back to the hotel, into the lounge for a cool drink and dessert…Peaches & Almond Tart with French Vanilla Ice Cream for me and Sticky Toffee Pudding for Taryn…yum!

Sticky Toffee Cake...mmmmm!

A couple of hours of mindless daytime TV for Taryn and a couple of hours of emailing for me, completing feature sheets for Crystal, writing the ads for the modular homes for Crystal, and we are ready for dinner. Ever since we've arrived, I keep trying to have a Margarita, but the slush machine is not working, so no slush-based drinks for us!
Dinner is Med Bread and Dips for Taryn and Crab Cakes and Caesar Salad for me. Why risk change when you have a good thing going, I always say!

The restaurant is gorgeous…loads of dark wood, intimate little booths and seating areas, multi-leveled floors, loads of halogen spotlights hanging over each table and clustered together to create chandeliers…wow! All of the upholstery feels like a heavy silk…chocolate coloured, grey, teal…exquisitely decorated.
The bathrooms are beautiful! A fireplace, complete with center seating made up of white semicircular armchairs, toilet cubicles that have 10 foot high etched glass-paneled doors edged in dark wood…sumptuous!

After a long cleansing shower and some time spent re-packing our luggage, it is bedtime again. I cannot sleep. I hear every little thing, try out both sides of the bed, then finally fall asleep about midnight. I have set the alarm on my cell phone, the 2 alarms on the clock radio, I've called down for a wake-up call at 5:00 A.M. and the only thing that works is the wake-up call! Whatever I did to the clock radio didn’t set the alarms properly and my cell phone didn’t ring, either. So much for modern technology. I can never set a clock radio the first time round, and this time is no different.

We are ready to check out in less than an hour. Grabbing Granny Smith apples from the ledge in front of the elevator, we take our luggage down to the lobby, check out smartly and board the shuttle at 6:05 A.M, along with a load of flight crews from American Airlines. If the hotel is good enough for them, then who are we to complain?

Check-in is uneventful at the Air Canada counter, breakfast at a café beside Tim Horton’s is average to less than, and boarding is fine, other than a little run-in with an Air Canada boarding agent. I play seat shuffle, wanting to make sure I have an aisle seat with access to put my foot up to prevent more swelling. She doesn't take the time to hear me out, and assumes I want Taryn and I to sit together. So, she re-assigns our seats from 13C and 13D to 16 A and 16C. When I gently remind her that that was not what I am asking for, she grows quite rude and impatient with me, asks to see our boarding passes and then asks the gate attendant near her to proceed and give up our original seat assignments! Finally, after me trying to explain and her not hearing me, I tell her that it is fine, we'll take the newly-assigned row 16 seats. It's not a hill I want to die on!

On board, after we are seated, one of the flight attendants is asking for people in our area to give up seats so a family of 6 can sit together. I offer to do it, and we then end up in bulkhead, which is what I’d wanted all along!
Weird, weird, weird!
Funny how the Universe takes the long way home, sometimes.

...later on in the day, during our flight to London...
I notice on the inflight tracking system we are just passing over Eirik Ridge, close to the Gloria Ridge and soon to be over top of the Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone. The map also shows the locations of sunken ships like the Titanic and the Thresher; and the Maury Sea Channel, Porcupine Bank and Porcupine Plain are up ahead. I have no idea about these at all…must be the names of undersea earth formations…mountain ranges, maybe? I'll have to Google this and see what these are. Interesting!

We are to call our hosts, Barb and Bill, and let them know when we arrive at Heathrow, and that will give them an idea when we’ll arrive at the tube station near their home. They are meeting us at the Manor House station, loading our luggage into their Smart car, and then driving it to their house, while one of us rides in the very smart Smart car with one of them, and the other one of us and the other one of them take the bus to their home.

As we near Manor House station on the underground train, I let Taryn know that our station is next and that I'm going to move to the doorway with my luggage. As I step off the train, towing my lightly-packed luggage, I turn and realize that....the train doors are closing and the beloved granddarling is still inside the train!

I yell, loudly.
Very loudly!
The train leaves the station, with my granddarling inside and me...not.
Panic sets in.
I make my way to the escalator, find two delectable local police officers doing tube patrol to help all of the stupid tourists with their concerns.
I tell them that I'm off the train and my granddarling is not.
They are concerned, and offer to help look for her at the track level.

I truly am panicking. My daughter trusts me with her lovely child and I lose her? Shades of losing the grandboy last year in the crush at the Vatican in Rome! What kind of grandmother am I?

Barb finds me, in the middle of this and we take my luggage to the car, tell Bill that I've lost my granddaughter and we return to the underground. By this time, the police are actively searching for this missing treasure of mine. I ask them for permission to return to the track area and they allow me through, without having to swipe my Oyster card, thank goodness!

Barb and I race down the escalator, fan out and each of us takes one side of the track. A train is pulling in, I race to the end car to see if there is a petite and beautiful grandchild inside.
There is not.

I turn back to Barb, with tears in my eyes....and see my granddarling walking towards us pulling her luggage! She had the smarts to get off at the next stop and catch a return train to the Manor House station! A chip off the old grandblock, I think!

Gratefully, I hug her and she hugs me back and we both explain what happened at the same time, making no sense at all. What a relief for me. As it was last year with the grandboy and the Vatican, I know intellectually that my grandchildren are adults and very capable of taking care of themselves in these situations. Emotionally, in my heart, they are still 5 years old and I am the worst grandmother in the world for losing them!

All's well that ends well, I think.

Later, when we tumble into bed, exhausted, I reach over, rub her back and tell her that I love her. She replies, " I love you, too, Grandma!"
That's all it takes for this to be ok with us. Simple, isn't it?

Best things about this day:
~ Actually getting a few hours of sleep before leaving the hotel
~Everything going smoothly for both of us,
~ Having delicious Granny Smith apples, compliments of the hotel, for an early morning snack
~ A professionally driven shuttle from the hotel
~ Short line-ups and fast transit times through check-in, security and boarding! The longest line-up we saw was at Tim Horton’s!
~ Seeing my granddaughter walking towards me in the underground...
~ Barb and Bill's kindness and caring in helping me keep my head!
~All in all, a smooth travel day. I’m delighted that I chose a day flight from Toronto for 6 hours in the air as compared to a night flight from Edmonton for 8 hours air time.
I know the Toronto route adds a day and a hotel room onto the flight, but it saves my sanity by eliminating the dreaded jet lag. That’s worth every penny, because it leaves me with no wasted days. Jet lag kills the first 4 - 5 days of any trip, and this way I get to enjoy those days rather than grogging my way through them!

Worst things about today:
~ Pathetic airline food…note to self: Write AC with suggestions for edible gluten-free food for those of us stuck eating it. Nothing so far has been edible, and the passenger across the aisle has experienced the same with her GF meal.
~ The feeling of panic when I am on the track side of the train and the beautiful child is on the inside...

This is what Taryn and her Mugga need, after the saga of the lost granddarling!
Pomegranate and Pineapple Martinis

"You're special, you're AWESOME, you're one of a kind!
Best of all, dear Grandchild, you are mine for all time!
~ Karen Hill

Comments (3)

chiaro di luna:

Oh Brenda, glad you and your gd are safe and sound and together.
That gave me a scare! You are one brave lady taking the London tube at night!
Have a wonderful trip.

I tell ya, it was a scare for me, for sure.
Funnily, the granddarling was pretty calm about the whole thing, unlike her maternal grandmother, the walking basket-case!
The tube was quite safe-feeling, very easy and in spite of my concerns about taking it, I'd do that again easily. Quite quick, lots of luggage room and nearly empty cars.
Piece of cake! Sort of...
Ciao ciao,

Oh my...How sharp she was to find her way back. You did get my heart racing there for a sec. Especially after all had been so calm.
Really, your luggage is light? Good for you.
Have fun.

No kidding!
I was amazed, truly.
Scared, then amazed...in that order.
My luggage is middlin' to light...not extra light!
I think every trip has wobbles and wiibbles, and this was one of them, for us. All's well, now!
Ciao ciao,

I am following along every step of the way...
Mind the Gap!

Hi, Sandi,
Thanks for letting me know that you're reading!
Ciao ciao,

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